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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Guess co-founder denies sexual harassment claims after models file lawsuit | Fashion

The Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has called claims about his alleged sexual harassment “fabricated”, “false” and an attempt to “extract big money settlements”.

Three former models for the fashion brand who alleged they were at the receiving end of sexually inappropriate behaviour from Marciano filed a lawsuit against Guess accusing it of aiding and abetting his alleged harassment. In the lawsuit – which sees the individual board members but not Marciano being sued – two of the alleged victims, Amanda Rodriguez and a woman only known as “Gwen”, claim that despite Guess knowing about 12 allegations of sexual misconduct against Marciano the board of directors voted to keep him on at the company. According to the lawsuit they also decided to give him back his day-to-day role, which included “unfettered access” to female models. Guess is also alleged to have given him a bonus of $3.1m. Marciano currently serves as the chief creative officer at the fashion label.

Marciano has repeatedly denied allegations against him, calling these latest accusations, which include groping of the breasts of one of the named models, “false”. Marciano went on to suggest the model’s law firm, The Bloom Firm, headed by Lisa Bloom, had a plan to get him. “I know for a fact that The Bloom Firm has fabricated false claims to alleged rape about me and others to extract big money settlements,” he said in a statement, as reported by Women’s Wear Daily. Marciano called Bloom an “unethical lawyer” who loved “the media attention”.

Bloom had previously called Guess “the worst company that I have ever seen”. She added that she didn’t know “of another company that has anywhere near this number of allegations of serious sexual harassment … against a prominent executive” and “yet continues to employ him”.

In 2018, model Kate Upton detailed the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of Marciano to Time magazine, claiming that she was groped and aggressively pursued by him. He later called her claims “preposterous”. After these initial accusations Marciano stepped away from the company and gave up his title of executive chairman.

In a statement, the accuser known as Gwen said: “Models deserve to work in a safe environment where they are not subject to unwanted sexual contact. They should be able to speak up when their safety is threatened without having to end their careers with the company.”

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